EDMONTON – As Tammy Parks-Legge’s walked into the TELUS World of Science, her son looked at her and described how he feels about parts of the centre.
“He said, ‘Mom, it’s getting old.'”
In the Space Gallery, Pluto is still a planet despite its 2006 demotion to “dwarf planet.”
The planetarium’s projection system is 15 years old. The “Laser Floyd” show still uses a VHS tape.
Of course, TWOS does not often show “Laser Floyd” anymore, but not because of the old tape. The lasers are well past their best before dates and nobody is certain they’ll make it through another show.
Now Edmonton’s science centre has unveiled renovation and expansion plans dubbed “the Aurora Project.”
“We’re looking at ways to re-imagine, renovate and re-energize to meet the needs of a growing city,” TWOS CEO Alan Nursall said.
The $40-million project will add 20,000 square feet of space to the TELUS World of Science.
Much of that new space will contain the Arctic Gallery.
The new exhibit would explore the science of the Arctic and also provide a good opportunity to study climate change.
However, before anything new gets built, the old building must be overhauled.
The planetarium’s original 32-year-old carpet and seats will be replaced, along with the dirty and water-stained dome. The projection system will be upgraded to an Ultra-HD system. In other parts of the building, the café, the space gallery and the childhood gallery will all be renovated.
The science centre’s CEO says this is about more than making the building pretty; it’s about keeping up with science.
“With the tools we have available and with new, innovative and creative galleries, we think we can really transform the experience here,” Nursall said.
Parents and children exploring TWOS welcomed the new plans.
“My husband and I both have a science background but science is constantly changing,” Christina Reid said.
The TELUS World of Science has yet to secure all the money needed for the Aurora Project.
So far, it has $12.5 million of the $40 million required. Most of that money has been promised by the City of Edmonton.
Officials are in talks with both the province and the federal government. A private fundraising campaign is about to begin.
If all the money can be secured soon, Nursall says the renovations could be complete by next spring and the expansion would take another year after that.